Advice needed please! RE: teaching

(63 Posts)
Doodledumdums Tue 09-Jul-13 22:11:22

I am considering doing a PGCE next year, but I am really undecided as to whether I would be better suited to teaching Secondary English, or Primary? I have an English literature degree, and I think that I would enjoy exclusively teaching English, however, I am quite an anxious person, so I am not sure whether secondary children would terrify me?! I also love little children, and am very enthusiastic and happy, so I think that possibly this would make me a better Primary teacher? I really don't know! I'm leaning towards secondary, but family and friends are adamant that I would be a great primary school teacher, so i'm not sure!

I was also wondering if someone would be able to give me a realistic idea of whether a PGCE and then an NQT year will be remotely possible with a small child? I have a six month old, who will be about 20 months old when I start my training. I know that it will be really hard work, and I am absolutely prepared for this, but is it actually possible? I have an amazing support network, so childcare while I am training will not be an issue, but obviously I don't want to commit to doing this if it means that I am unlikely to be able to spend any time with my DS for a couple of years!

Eeeek, help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated smile

Arisbottle Fri 12-Jul-13 21:30:22

I became a teacher to have more time with my children, worked very well for me , but I was clear what I wanted from the job and therefore made sure I had time with the children.

You will probably have more time with them in the holidays and less time with them in term time, as you try and keep up with the marking, planning, etc. At least, that is what I found. Certainly never two days together at the weekend, and no evenings. Always, 'but you are too busy on your computer to do things with me.' sad

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 23:44:52

Well I don't have direct school experience, but I currently work with children's educational books, so I have some knowledge of the curriculum etc. I just feel that I would prefer to be on the teaching side of things rather than the side which I am currently on.

Unfortunately my current job requires long hours, involves lots of stress and lots of paperwork, so I am no stranger to these things!

I am intending to spend time in some schools before I make a decision, I have a month in a primary school lined up in September (in key stages 1, 2 and 3), but
due to finances, I am unable to volunteer on a regular basis as when I go back to work after
maternity leave, I need to return full time. It is very difficult to fit in much more experience than this at the moment because I have to return to work, which is why I am trying to ascertain whether it is better for me to focus the little time I do have on Primary or Secondary. In an ideal world, I would spend as much time as possible weighing up my
options and spending lots of time in schools, but
unfortunately I can't, so I need to use my gut
instincts at this stage!

Maybe I should put things on hold until I have spent time in the primary school in September, I guess I could hate it which will rule the idea out entirely!

Clary Sat 13-Jul-13 00:05:33

Just for info, GTP doesn't exist any more, it has been replaced by Schools Direct, similar in practice but linked directly to a school rather than administered by the uni.

I did a GTP last year with a 2:2 and my degree classification was never an issue AFAIK. I do have a lot of workplace experience tho and also a lot of experience in education/working with children. It was hard tho, the hardest year ever (except perhaps my NQT yr lol).

OP I agree, get lots of experience in schools to help you decide and help you get a place too. Key stage 3 is secondary btw. I agree it is odd if you have no school experience (apart from attending school yourself) then it seems to be odd to consider teaching. I moved into it mainly because the day a week I spent volunteering at school (for about four years) was the day I enjoyed most.

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 00:20:36

I would definitely agree that you need to experience both. It's great you have organised experience in a primary school. Could you use annual leave to give you some time in a secondary? Just to experience it. Contact universities about their requirements. In my area primary PGCE is very difficult to get onto. I have seen able applicants turned down because it's so competitive. So check what the uni wants and make sure you fulfil the criteria.

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 08:09:00

I am not sure why it is 'odd' to be considering teaching without having school experience? Everything you do you have to consider first without experience, and then you get experience and make your mind up. It is only a consideration at this stage, surely everyone has the consideration before they go out and get the experience. I am 26, so have actually spent the majority of my life at school (I know this doesn't count as experience, but I just mean that it is not an environment I am totally unfamiliar with like it would be if I was suggesting I want to retrain as a doctor for example!) I work on Primary education books, and I know that I love children, so I don't think it is totally unreasonable for me to be considering teaching. Sorry, I don't mean this to sound defensive, but I am not entirely sure why there is the implication that this is 'odd?'

I will use annual leave to do school placements, but I only have four weeks which I can use, (in addition to the four which I have already arranged) so I just wanted to try and decide whether to focus my time on Primary or Secondary, because if I do decide to do a PGCE, I imagine it would be better if I had more experience in the one which I decide on, rather than a few weeks in one and a few weeks in the other if that makes sense?

EliotNess Sat 13-Jul-13 08:09:52

christ no - get in a school they have changed massively a LITTLE bit since you went!

EliotNess Sat 13-Jul-13 08:10:16

oh ffs you have been to school so you know what its like to be a teacher

You are talking drivel

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 08:25:17

Where on earth did I say that?!!!

EliotNess Sat 13-Jul-13 08:35:45

I am 26, so have actually spent the majority of my life at school (I know this doesn't count as experience, but I just mean that it is not an environment I am totally unfamiliar with like it would be if I was suggesting I want to retrain as a doctor for example!

Being a pupul is NO WAY indicative of experience ffs

Eyesunderarock Sat 13-Jul-13 08:38:40

Oh, go ahead.
What's the worst that could happen?
At the very least you will have a new experience.

Eyesunderarock Sat 13-Jul-13 08:40:06

'I am 26, so have actually spent the majority of my life at school (I know this doesn't count as experience, but I just mean that it is not an environment I am totally unfamiliar with like it would be if I was suggesting I want to retrain as a doctor for example!'

Bit like thinking you could be an aircraft engineer because you are a frequent flier with EasyJet.

EliotNess Sat 13-Jul-13 08:42:00

and you say yourself you are anxious - thats the bit that worries me, YOu have to be mentally very robust to be a teacher.

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 08:42:40

Eliot I have already said that I am going to get experience working at a school, I am well aware that being a pupil is vastly different from being a teacher, I just meant that the school environment is not one which I am totally unfamiliar with. How is that drivel?! I said nothing about knowing what it is like to be a teacher! All I did was defend the implication that it is odd that I am considering teaching, as I don't understand why it is odd.

Why are you being so rude?! All I did was ask for some advice from people who know more than I do. If you have nothing constructive to say, or my thread angers you for some reason then why comment?! I haven't posted this in AIBU, I am not looking for a fight or to be made to feel like crap, I was just after some advice.

I started my secondary PGCE with no school experience. Took me aaaaages to adjust to it. But it did come!

I've taught English for 11 years. Be aware that the marking load is crippling.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:29:54

The OP is getting a hard time, schools are full of teachers who chose their career on the basis of enjoying school/ having watched Dead Poets society/ the holidays. They mostly do well .

I became a teacher having no real school experience other than being a pupil and wanting to not work for 12 weeks a year . I am still a great teacher and gave got exactly what I was looking for.

I imagine there are a fair few pilots who chose that career path because they have flown in a lot of planes .

The anxiety and 2:2 concern me a little , with a 2:2 you are more likely to end up in a tougher school if you choose secondary which will open you up to more anxiety .

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:31:08

Misread the example, I bet lots of aircraft engineers have been inspired the the planes they have flown in.

Eyesunderarock Sat 13-Jul-13 09:34:46

I'm all for people trying out new things Arisbottle, and at least if it doesn't work out it won't be a catastrophe.

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 09:41:22

Thank you Arisbottle (smile)

Yes my anxiety is an issue, unfortunately it is something I just have to live with, and usually I just have to try and not let it stop me doing things, but I hear what you are saying though about ending up in a tougher school, this probably wouldn't help the issue! I really wish I could resit the exam I missed in my final year, it was on Shakespeare which was by far my strongest module! I only missed out on a 2:1 by one mark overall...so frustrating!

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:44:35

I am not saying you will definitely end up in a tougher school.

Teaching is also like acting,I know lots of teachers who are quiet and may appear to lack confidence until they get in front of a class.

RNJ3007 Sat 13-Jul-13 09:51:08

I started my SCITT for secondary MFL when DD was 15 months. I completed my SCITT and got married that academic year, did my NQT and am finished my first year post NQT with a 4yo DD and a 33w bump! It is doable as long as you time manage well and have adequate childcare.

Good luck making a choice.

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:43:01

When I see people about career options some come in with a vague idea. I encourage that they do some research, gain experience and discuss with those in the field. So OP you are doing the right thing. Maybe as your not sure yet, go on a fact finding mission. Contact unis, try secondary and primary before you commit the rest of your leave. Would your employer allow unpaid leave? Don't rush into this decision.

Teaching is a vocation and it is important to make sure you are right for teaching and teaching is right for you. I do see people who want to go into teaching for the hours and holidays! I do discuss the realities with them.

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:44:35

One person I had was shocked, genuinely shocked, that to be a GP you needed to go to university! Never mind 5years of it plus more training after.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 11:50:01

I would not say that teaching is my vocation although I love it. I went into teaching for the holidays and hours, I got , by and large, what I was after. I am seem as a good teacher- date I say it even an outstanding teacher .

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:57:26

I'm glad that worked for you and its great you are an outstanding teacher. Maybe your one of the lucky ones and the desire for the holidays etc matched your skills to be a teacher. Everyone will have experienced great teachers who make a difference and those that have aren't so much.

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